So here we go again. The most famous Steeplechase – nay horse race – on the planet: Ladies and gentlemen, the 2023 Randox Grand National.
A race that officially stretches back to 1839, the single-biggest test of equine endurance over 4m2½f brings even the rarest of punters to the table.
In the last decade especially, the National continues year-on-year to find a big-price winner, with the shortest in 2019 when the mighty Tiger Roll defended the crown as 4/1f.
Currently one of just two horses to win back-to-back Nationals – the great Red Rum being the other – Noble Yeats could become the third this year.
Carrying greater weight here however, staying the trip could be an issue.
So, of the 40 runners currently penned for the start line, we’ve picked six names that could go well in Saturday’s big race at varying prices.
Corach Rambler is perhaps rightly set to go off as this year’s favourite after defending the Ultima but at the top end of the market, Delta Work appears ready to challenge also.
Adorning the famous Gordon Elliott colours, many predicted this horse to follow in the hooves of stablemate Tiger Roll last year, but could only finish third.
A year wiser however, the 10yo has now leapfrogged the defending Noble Yeats into second favourite in the betting.
Commanding in the Cross Country at Cheltenham for a second year last month, Delta Work continues to shorten in the markets.
The softer turf this year should suit one of the best stayers around down to the ground.
In his first outing with Delta Work, jockey Keith Donohue was the perfect foil and the duo have every chance, now at 8/1 with BoyleSports.
Any Second Now
Marginally longer in price, will it be third time lucky for Mark Walsh and Any Second Now?
After picking up a win with the ever-improving Zenta in the Jewson on Thursday, the colours of JP McManus appear in fine fettle.
Twelve months on from being sensationally nosed out in 2022, some are talking up the chances of revenge for the son of Oscar.
And to say both Walsh and this plucky 11yo have unfinished Grand National business is an understatement.
Two trips may be enough for some but not this horse.
Third to the sensational Rachael Blackmore and Minella Times in 2021 also, his record reads 3rd and 2nd for the last two Nationals.
One needn’t be a mathematician to work out what comes next in a cumulative sequence, but will it finally be glory this year?
Now at a higher ranking and with a bigger handicap, he could suffer over the final furlongs but nevertheless, you could have FAR worse 18/1 punts with William Hill.
After a late withdrawal from the Ultima at Cheltenham, could it be Our Power to make it three wins-in-a-row and in spectacular fashion?
Set to drop in to Gloucestershire fresh from wins in the London Gold Cup and Coral Trophy, his absence from the Festival last month could easily be forgotten here.
Set to run in not only an Aintree but National debut, the Sam Thomas-owned gelding was a real stayer last time out at Kempton.
With Sam Twiston-Davis in the saddle, father Nigel looks for his third victory in this race following Earth Summit in 1998 and 20/1 Bindaree four years later.
Twiston-Davis Jr has been bullish of his ride’s chances and stated in his William Hill Blog that not only had he ‘schooled well over the fences’ but believes Our Power a ‘thorough stayer’.
It would be hard to refute that claim and at 20/1 with PariMatch, represents real potential value.
Meanwhile, a name tipped up heavily by ITV Racing’s Mark Johnson, might Coko Beach grab a fifth career win?
Eighth in the National last year, Harry Cobden is now confirmed to be on board for the first time; that is huge to the French gelding’s hopes.
Before arriving at Punchestown last time out, the 8yo had yet to give Gordon Elliott a win since switching from Denise Foster in October 2021.
However, finally, Coko Beach beach delivered in some style in winning the QuinnBet Handicap Trial two months ago.
For many, a corner had been turned but this will be the litmus test.
But with Cobden now in tow, Coko Beach looks a shrewd punt.
Indeed, at 33/1 with 888Sport, here, Elliott has another decent alternative shot at a fourth National win.
What of the fellow old guard in this year’s running?
Sam Brown might be poised to run a big race.
Returning to the Mildmay course for the second time this season, the 11yo was fifth out a field of six in the Many Clouds, but won the Betway Handicap 12 months back at a banging 28/1.
In what will be his fourth run at Aintree, trainer Anthony Honeyball saw his ride make a strong fist of things at Uttoxeter last time out.
A career highlighted by five wins in his first six, last year’s victory was a rare heyday for the old boy but can again rise to the occasion here.
A full and weighty 66/1 with BetUK.
The second of two bigger price picks and the final of our sextet, Fortescue will be looking to make greater inroads in his own second National trip.
Any horse that was unseated last year might be unlikely to make the grade for a punter, but the signs are there that 2023 could be different.
Harry Nugent placed in fourth on his return trip to Aintree in the Becher in December – having also done so in three of four contests this term.
Every dog – or horse – has his day and as Fortescue proved in the Swinley Chase at Ascot last year, there is very much a show in this 9yo.
At the very least a decent shot to place – with some bookies up to seven places – 50/1 with BetVictor is another name that appeals greatly.